The final day of the college basketball regular season is finally upon us and Selection Sunday is just over a week away! The regular-season league titles are up for grabs in most major conferences, while some of the smaller leagues are already well into their conference tournaments, with their regular season champs already crowned.
? NET UPDATE ?
4. San Diego State
7. Michigan State
— NCAA March Madness (@marchmadness) March 6, 2020
The schedule is jam-packed with action as there are ninety-four games on the slate. Some of the headliner games are games between Kentucky and Florida, Baylor and West Virginia, Kansas and Texas Tech, Seton Hall and Creighton, Louisville and Virginia, Utah State and San Diego State, and the biggest of them all, Duke and North Carolina. For our daily betting pick, we will head to Utah, where the Runnin’ Utes host the Colorado Buffaloes.
- Colorado Buffaloes (21-9) at Utah Runnin’ Utes (15-14)
- 11:30 AM PST
- Huntsman Center, Salt Lake City
- TV: PACN
The Utah Runnin’ Utes will celebrate their upperclassmen today on senior day at the Huntsman Center in their final regular-season game of the year. It has been a disappointing season for Utah as they are just 6-11 in PAC-12 play and 15-14 overall. They will be looking to finish the season on a high note as they prepare for a trip to the Pac-12 tournament that must end in a championship if they want to play in the NCAA tournament.
?SENIOR DAY?#UteNation help us honor our Senior Marc Reininger, today vs Colorado at 12:30pm MT!
— Utah Basketball? (@UtahMBB) March 7, 2020
For Colorado, the Buffaloes have fallen apart recently as they went from being one of the favorites to win the Pac-12 regular-season title, to a team that could fall to as low as the sixth seed in the Pac-12 tournament with a loss today on the road. Colorado has lost three straight games, and their NCAA tournament stock is plunging. While the Buffaloes should still safely be in the field of sixty-eight at this point, a win today on the road would go a long way into helping their seeding.
Utah Runnin’ Utes
It hasn’t been a season to remember in Salt Lake City this year. It started out well, as the Utes were 9-3 in the non-conference and the wins over BYU, Kentucky, and Minnesota that all held up as quality ones. League play has been a struggle for the Utes from the start, specifically on the road. But at home, this Utah team has been more than respectable.
At home this season in league play, Utah is 6-2. That includes wins over Oregon State, Washington, Washington State, Stanford, Cal, and USC. The two home losses came to Oregon and UCLA, two teams that are currently tied for first place atop the Pac-12 standings. When the Utes traveled to Colorado earlier this year, the game was not competitive, as Colorado blew them out 91-52, Utah seeks their revenge today at the Huntsman Center.
There are two teams playing in Colorado this year. You have the team they are at home, and the team they are on the road. At home, the Buffaloes are amongst the best teams on the west coast. They have home-court wins over USC, Stanford, Clemson, Oregon, Arizona State, and Washington. But on the road, this Colorado team just isn’t the same.
The Buffaloes have lost to Stanford, Cal, Oregon, UCLA, Arizona, and Kansas on the road. All told, six of their nine losses have come on the road. Against the spread, they are just 5-8 in true road games. When you look back at their season as a whole, they still had a nice year, with the win over Dayton sticking out as a truly elite victory.
But Colorado doesn’t want to hit the Pac-12 tournament having lost four straight games, particularly considering two of those losses came to Stanford and Cal, teams that are in the bottom half of the league standings. A fourth consecutive loss to a team that won’t be playing in the NCAA tournament will really hurt their NCAA tournament seeding on Selection Sunday. Colorado must find a way to shake off these recent struggles and pick up a big win today.
Who Do I Like?
I have faded the Buffaloes on the road a lot this season. They just haven’t been good against quality competition away from home. They have lost their last two road games, with the loss to Cal really hurting as the Bears are not even inside of the top-150 nationally right now. A loss to Utah would almost for sure cost them at least one seeding line in the NCAA tournament.
We just talked about how Colorado has struggled against the spread on the road, and when you look at Utah, they have been the exact opposite at home. The Utes have been one of the best ATS home teams in the nation this year, as they are 12-6 against the number on their home floor.
In this game, we have a spot where we can back a team that is elite against the spread at home, against a team that can’t win or cover on the road. That makes it a very attractive spot. Does the fact that Colorado beat this Utah team by a whopping thirty-nine points in January scare me a little bit? Yeah, it does.
But this Colorado team has taken a sharp turn to the worse since that game, and if they can lose to Cal on the road, they can absolutely lose to Utah on the road. And while I do see some significant value on taking Utah money line to win this game outright, I will instead snatch up the three and a half points just in case the ball doesn’t bounce our way late in the game.
Getting more than a full possessions worth of points is a juicy proposition for sure, and I will jump all over it. Give me the Utah Runnin’ Utes today on their home floor, as they look to send their seniors out winners, getting three and a half points!